Andrew Corbett challenges…
From a young age we are conditioned to look to someone for approval.
- A young girl looks up to see if her mother’s eyes approve or disapprove
- A young boy looks across to his dad on the bench looking his father’s encouragement or disappointment
- A player eyes his coach looking back at him yelling his delight in his protégé
- A bride gives her daddy a glance in the church as he sits in the front row wiping a tear from his eye
- The boy-turned-into-a-man walks up to the front door in his first suit and falls into the eyes of the only girl in the universe
- After seeing the initial sparkle cause her eyes to light up at the sight of him – on what would become the day they would never forget.
We all need approval
Whose eyes matter to you? Genesis 6:8 says, ‘Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord.’
When a daughter doesn’t get the attention of her father, she will look for another man’s eyes. There are many women who are still just little girls longing for their father’s approval. They look for the paternal eyes that uniquely affirm.
Whose approval do you look for?
‘For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him’ says 2 Chronicles 16:9.
Our lives are shaped by someone’s eyes
The story is told of the veteran maestro who retired to a small Austrian village. Many parents brought their reluctant children to him to be taught the violin.
But then there was one young boy who didn’t share his villagers’ reluctance to learn the violin. The maestro was quite taken by the boy’s keenness to learn the violin that had once been his grandfather’s. It soon became apparent that this boy had a gift. He helped him to hone this gift and it wasn’t long before he caught the eye of a visiting conductor from Vienna. After all the years that the maestro spent mentoring his protégé, the reward came when his student was given an opportunity to move to Vienna and concentrate on his craft.
As further years went by the young boy was now a grown man and one of the world’s most accomplished violinists. He was in demand worldwide and filled major concert halls wherever he performed. The village was a buzz as the news of his return to homeland spread. He was to perform in Vienna!
The villagers organised a bus to take them to see their home-town hero perform. Among them was the now aged maestro.
The concert hall was filled to capacity. The lights dimmed, the spotlight came on, and the curtains rose. Onto the stage walked the violinist. He stood there before the hushed audience. With eyes closed he lifted his Stradivarius and began to play. He moved the thousands before him with his masterful artistry and brought his piece to a magnificent crescendo. The audience leapt to their feet and applauded.
But the violinist stood there unmoved by their applause for several minutes. His now opened eyes scanned the hall. Eventually he saw an old man seated in the balcony and locked eyes with his. The old man struggled to his feet and composed himself, then began to clap. At this, the violinist bowed and acknowledged his mentor’s approval.
Psalm 123:2 says, ‘Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy on us.’
Sadly, some people are influenced by the wrong eyes
The eyes always have it. A young person craving acceptance looks for the approving eyes of those they want to be identified with. But what they have to do to earn that approval and acceptance causes them to compromise and cross certain moral lines they would never have dared cross.
I wonder how many people in the public square are drawing their cues from the eyes of the media? They know that if they speak in mindless motto-isms, and use nonsensical sloganeering, they will be promoted favourably in the media. It’s hard for the rest of us hear this kind of drivel-dressed-up-as-deliberations for what it actually is: drivel.
- ‘Two people who love each other should be allowed to marry!’ (even though this is not the current condition for marriage now, and no-one has explained how this will be tested).
- ‘We are for marriage equality!’ (But no-one seems to be asking ‘Equal to what?’).
Those who dare disagree with the mainstream media have the often daunting task of being stared down by their glaring eyes of disapproval which result in unfavourable journalism at best, and hurtful maliciousness at worst.
1 Peter 3:12 reminds us that ‘the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil’ and 2 Peter 2:14 warns, ‘They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!’
Jesus and eyes
‘The eyes are the window to your soul´wrote William Shakespeare. It seems that Jesus inspired his famous line when he said, ‘The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light’ (Matthew 6:22).
Jesus had a bit to say about eyes.
- He described certain eyes as ‘bad’ (Matt. 6:23)
- Others as causing someone to sin (Matt. 5:29)
- He challenged the judgmental to have a closer look into their own eyes to see their own eye-planks rather than focusing on their brother’s eye-speck (Matt. 7:3)
- He also had to battle with the glares and the frowns of from the eyes of the religious.
But just like the mentored violinist, he wasn’t swayed by the opinions of the crowd – let alone the religious. Rather, his eyes were on his Father’s eyes: ‘I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father’ (John 8:38).
Whose eyes sway you?
If you’re currently more concerned with the opinions and glares of others than you are about what God thinks, you are looking at the wrong eyes!
God is looking for people who will look to him.
It is my prayer that my eyes will be opened to see the Lord and his eyes. I want my approval to come from him. I don’t want to be swayed by the disapproving looks of others who object to me obeying God rather than joining them.
And I pray that your eyes will opened to see his eyes too so that we will not intimidated by the scowls of this disapproving world.
May the cry of the blind men to Jesus be ours too… ‘They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened”’ (Matt. 20:33).
Dr Andrew Corbett is National President at ICI Theological College Australia, an avid reader/researcher, Christian apologist and author pastoring in Tasmania. Link: Twitter: DrAndrewC / firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.andrewcorbett.net